IN A LANDMARK paper, “Change, work and learning: aligning continuing education and training“, it is suggested that we need to clearly distinguish between entry level training and continuing education, so we can more readily meet the challenges of the 21st century workplace.
According to the latest statistics, more than 70% of people attending a vocation education and training course already have a job. At least 40% are there in a continuing education sense; that is, they are there to improve their business, or it was a requirement of the job, or to get a promotion, or to gain extra skills in their current job.
The working paper authors argue that the models of delivery and the pedagogy of continuing education have to considered very differently to the approach taken with entry level education and training; perhaps even requiring a different institutional framework to implement it, or at a minimum, substantially “reshaped”.
They postulate three broad key objectives for individuals’ participation in continuing education and training for work-related goals. These are:
- sustaining employability: continuing to remain employable
- securing employability: transforming occupational role
- developing further individual employability: seeking advancement and promotion.
In their schema, there are three modes of continuing education and training provision: wholly practice-based, practice-based experiences with educational interventions and wholly education institution-based, and there are various models in each. For example, in wholly work-based, practice-based structured experiences (acting up, rotations), practice-based experiences with direct guidance (shadowing, mentoring) and opportunity based experiences.
[Mentoring] Individuals’ learning within their working life can also be enriched by direct guidance by more expert partners. These opportunities can be organised with the intention of increasing the capacity of workers through joint problem-solving and engagement in activities.
One of the authors of the Working Paper is Dr. Stephen Billett, Professor of Adult and Vocational Education at Griffith University. The Working Paper was published by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER).
In this interview, we discuss the purpose of the study and explore the impact this may have on current institutional approaches to education and training.